In the very first paragraph of Enon: A Novel, we learn the harsh truth of Charlie Crosby’s life: his only child Kate was struck and killed by a car while riding her bicycle home from the beach one afternoon in September. She was thirteen. And shortly thereafter, he and his wife Susan separated.

From that startling event, we see how Charlie’s life slowly disintegrates in the upcoming months, until one day, a year later, and following a hurricane, he is startled back to the reality of how he has wrecked his life, his home, and his relationships with others.

The downward spiral started just after the death, and after he purposely broke several bones in his hand; he then started taking pain pills, and rather quickly became addicted. During those periods, he conjured a world with Kate still in it…a surreal world. Hallucinations became his reality.

Narrated in Charlie’s first person voice, we follow his ramblings, as he journeys into his surreal world, and also a world of memories. Of his own childhood and of times with Kate. And of the village of Enon, in New England, where he grew up, and where his ancestors lived.

In a moment of startling and unexpected reality, he has this insight: “…Kate gave my life joy. I loved her totally, and while I loved her, the world was love. Once she was gone, the world seemed to prove nothing more than ruins and the smoldering dreams of monsters.”

A difficult experience to read about, I had trouble staying focused through Charlie’s ramblings, and felt such a relief when he finally started on his road back to a kind of sanity. He then looks upon his journey as “fetishes, cobbled together by a mind clumsy with drugs and sorrow, and shaken in terror like rattles at the immense and exact unfolding of my daughter’s true absence elaborating itself in the world.”

A haunting portrayal of one man’s grief and loss. 3.5 stars.